“Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles. It was written by the songwriting partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and was first released on the album Rubber Soul on 3 December 1965. Musically influenced by the introspective lyrics of Bob Dylan, “Norwegian Wood” is a milestone in the Beatles’ progression as complex songwriters. In addition, the recordings of studio musicians during the Help! filming sessions, and Ravi Shankar inspired lead guitarist George Harrison to incorporate the sitar into the song.
I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me…
She showed me her room, isn’t it good, norwegian wood?
She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere,
So I looked around and I noticed there wasn’t a chair.
I sat on a rug, biding my time, drinking her wine
We talked until two and then she said, “It’s time for bed”
She told me she worked in the morning and started to laugh.
I told her I didn’t and crawled off to sleep in the bath
And when I awoke, I was alone, this bird had flown
So I lit a fire, isn’t it good, norwegian wood.
Although “Norwegian Wood” was not the first song to feature an Eastern-inspired sound in a rock composition, or even the first Beatles track, it is credited as influential in the development in raga rock and psychedelic rock. Not long afterwards, Indian classical music became popularised in mainstream Western society, and several Western musical artists such as the Byrds, the Rolling Stones, and Donovan integrated elements of the genre into their musical approach. Accordingly, “Norwegian Wood” is recognised as a bona fide raga-rock song, as well as fundamental in the early evolution of the genre later regarded as world music.
John Lennon had the idea for the song while on a skiing holiday with his wife Cynthia, in St Moritz in the Swiss Alps. They were joined by George Martin, who injured himself early on in the holiday, and his future wife Judy Lockhart-Smith.